“The Soul Sessions Vol. 2″ by Joss Stone

UK-born soul singer Joss Stone first rose to fame in 2003 with her debut album The Soul Sessions, an album that awarded her multi-platinum status and a spot on the 2004 Mercury Prize shortlist. Now nine years later, Stone is still big on the soul music scene with her sixth album, a follow up to her debut, The Soul Sessions Volume 2. Over the years, Stone has accrued numerous accolades such as a Best New Artist nomination at the 2005 Grammy Awards and she is the youngest British female singer to top the UK Albums Chart.

The Soul Sessions Volume 2 is just like the first – a covers album released in combination under S-Curve Records, her original label, and her independent label Stone’d Records. Making a comeback is Stone’s original producer Steve Greenberg who also produced her debut album. Stone transforms each track into a soul-infused ballad, effortlessly inducing a double take from listeners as they recognize each one from the originals.

Most notably on this record, Stone gives the Broken Bells hit “The High Road” a head-to-toe makeover. The track starts off with sleek guitar riffs and low seductive vocals from Stone before she really lets her voice out, belting notes worthy of a congregation. If you dig covers, definitely give this one a listen – you’ve never heard “The High Road” like this before.

Throughout the album, Stone shows her range of soul and funk, as her voice is just as captivating full-force as it is soft. She doesn’t hold back at all and lets emotion run high on tracks like “For God’s Sake” and “I Don’t Want To Be With Nobody But You”.

The Soul Sessions Volume 2 predominantly features lesser-known soul songs from artists like The Chi-Lites, The Honey Cone, The Dells, Sylvia, Labi Siffre, and Linda Lewis that were hits in the seventies and eighties.

Stand-out tracks include “Sideway Shuffle”, “Teardrops”, and “Pillow Talk” that showcase the softer jazz-influenced side of Stone. On “Nothing Takes The Place Of You”, Stone yearns for a past love. Each word trembles with pure affection and she bellows, “because without you, nothing seems the same/so I’ll wait until you’re home in my arms/and again I’ll love you, yes I will.”

“I really had fun revisiting The Soul Sessions’ idea and I’m really pleased with the results,” Stone told RapUp.com. “I’ve committed long term to my label Stone’d Records, but it felt right to team up with Steve Greenberg and S-Curve again for this release. I think there are some great songs on the album and I loved performing them with such brilliant musicians.”

By Jeeyoon Kim

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